Liferay Portal v5.2 is out, why is everybody so excited?
Company Blogs February 4, 2009 By Jorge Ferrer Staff
The new release of Liferay Portal is out and I think this is its best release ever. All of us who have been working hard within Liferay and the community to get it out are super excited, everybody we show it too also gets excited, and what is more important, the feedback from the very early adopters has been awesome. What is so special about this release?
I think one of the key aspects of v5.2 is that has improvements in may different aspects including lots of new functionalities, new and improved plugins, significant speed improvements, better packaging and improved usability, specially in the administration UI.
Ok, enough bragging, let's get to the details.
New features and improvements
The administration UI has been completely redesigned, not only with the introduction of the Control Panel, mentioned later, but also with a redesign of the individual administration tools. The main goals of this redesign were:
- Usability: do more quicker, more intuitively and in less clicks.
- Adaptability: adapt it to your own needs. For example you can now define your own types of organizations, such as Department, Customer, School, etc.
- Extensibility: previously if you needed, for example, a very custom user profile you had to build your own tool. Now you can define custom attributes by using the UI and perform any changes desired by adding JSP-based templates.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Some other very significant additions are:
- Support for taxonomies: create your own tree of categories and assign them to web content, wiki articles or your custom portlets. Includes support for multiple vocabularies
- Improvements to the web content management system
- Microsoft Office Integration with the Document Library
- Support for inheritance of web content structures
- Support for having many independent message boards, blogs, wikis, document libraries, ... per community or organization.
- Siteminder SSO integration
- Restricted permission search: the results from a search will now exclude any entries that the user does not have the rights to view.
- Export of published web contents to PDF, DOC, TXT and RTF.
- Improved translations: Liferay Portal v5.2 comes with the most polished translations ever, thanks to the awesome work of the Liferay Translation Team.
New and improved plugins
The list of officially supported plugins keeps increasing, and this release contains significant improvements to the ones available and introduces several new ones. The most significants are:
- Chat portlet improvements:
- New WSRP implementation thanks to our friends from SUN
- Knowledge Base
- Wiki Navigation portlets
- Web Form configuration: the Web Form is now available as a plugin and comes with a much improved configuration UI including drag & drop to reorder fields:
- New Mail portlet
- Private message portlet
Note: Several of these plugins are included out of the box in the new bundles and all of them will be available in the next few days in Liferay's official plugins page.
Speed and scalability improvements
On the front end there have been lots of speed improvements that provide a much faster user experience. You can read more about them in Nate's and Eduardo's blog posts.
On the back end side v5.2 includes support for distributed read /write operations between two separate applications which provides support for massively scaled installations. Also data-bound applications will benefit from increased database throughput. Finally v5.2 provides terracota DSO integration.
- Improved structure: the structure of the bundle has been significantly improved so that it's completely selfcontained (including its data) and thus makes life easier for administrators. It also comes with a readme file with information to get started quickly.
- Sample data: When you first run the bundle the database is populated with a sample portal (The portal of a ficticious company called 7 Cogs) that showcases many of Liferay Portal's functionalities and those of the bundled plugins. That way it's much easier to understand the new features and the most common usage patterns for Liferay. Check it out and let us know what you think.
Important note: if you have an existing database don't point the bundle to it since it will substitute your data with the sample data. Check the readme file for more information on how to remove the sample data.
The most significant changes in usability are:
- Control Panel: all the administration tools have been unified into the Control Panel. Through this UI users can administer the whole portal with ease regardless of whether they have 1 single community or website or they have thousands. The Control Panel includes tools for managing contents, portal users, orgs, roles, ... and the server itself. Also it's very extensible so that you can add your own tools to it.
- User Administration: streamlined profile form with an intuitive organization of fields that can be navigated without refreshing the page. It also allows administrating all the organizations, communities or roles a user is assigned within the same form (see image below):
- Permissions assignment: assigning permissions for a specific entity such as a blog entry has a brand new UI which is much easier to understand and use. (see image below):
- Usage of UniForm for more usable forms: if you were able to attend Nate's talk in Liferay's Symposium in Frankfurt last year you know how the usability of forms can be improved following certain rules. These rules have already been applied to Liferay's portal administration forms.
You can read more about this and other new features in the page: New Features in Liferay Portal 5.2. And we surely hope you also get as excited as we are :)